Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

dexter fowler smileAnnually a must-read, FanGraphs has released the results of its free agent contract crowdsourcing project, which utilizes the wisdom of crowds (thoughtful crowds, too, in the case of your average FanGraphs reader) to generate, distill, and project possible free agent contracts.

Here are the full results for the top 82 free agents.

You’ll want to peruse for yourself to see where the crowd landed on various players, but some of my thoughts, relevant to the Cubs’ expected pursuits (using the median figures):

  • Everyone seems to be in agreement that seven years and $200 million is about what it will take to land David Price. As I’ve said before, I love the pitcher, but I’m not sure that’s the right use of the Cubs’ resources.

  • Zack Greinke just reached free agency, and I remarked that a “five or six-year contract in the $140 to $150 million range would not be a surprise to me.” It looks like the crowd agreed, landing on six years and $156 million.
  • Jordan Zimmermann at six years and $126 million is pretty much exactly where I would have expected the prevailing wisdom to land. Despite his youth and success, though, I wonder if there isn’t a chance he slips from there, given the long-prior Tommy John surgery and the velocity/strikeout decline this past year. We’re going to hear the Cubs connected to Zimmermann a lot this offseason, and, while I like the pitcher, I have my concerns long-term.
  • Alex Gordon has been a surprisingly frequent Cubs rumor target in the early going, and the crowd has him getting five years and $90 million. It wouldn’t shock me to see him get that much, but I would have suggested just a touch lower. I doubt the Cubs go that aggressively.

  • Four years and $56 million for Mike Leake? I’m interested.
  • Four years and $56 million for Dexter Fowler? Sorry, crowd, but that seems light, and I suspect his “low” WAR figures play a big part. At that price, I’d think the Cubs should just go ahead and retain him. It’s always possible that the market takes a turn, but I suspect he’s going to get more than that – perhaps even an extra year at a higher AAV.
  • Ben Zobrist at three years and $42 million also seems low.
  • If Ian Kennedy really does land in the three-year, $36 million range (especially without a qualifying offer attached), I very much hope the Cubs give him a long look. As I’ve said, I could see him getting back-end money and providing mid-rotation performance.
  • Michael wrote yesterday about Denard Span as a one-year stop gap for the Cubs, but the crowd sees him getting a three-year, $36 million deal. Would he really rather take that than a one-year prove-it deal, though? He could probably get $14 or so million for one year, and then all he’d need to get over the next two is $22 million to top that projection – and, if healthy, he’d get much, much more.
  • Three and $30 million for Austin Jackson seems like a bit of a risk, but he, too, might be a guy who prefers a one-year deal for now. I suspect the Cubs will be feeling him out.

  • Trevor Cahill comes in at one year and $5 million, which is potentially high for a guy who had such limited success last year in a new, less-valuable role. Don’t get me wrong: I’m very, very interested in the Cubs bringing Cahill back for the bullpen next year if he’s into it, but it’s possible there’s a team out there that’ll give him an Aaron Harang deal at 1/$5M with an offer to start again. He might prefer that to a, for example, two-year, $6 to $8 million deal with a team that intends to keep him in the pen.

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